Frisco City Council and city staff members gathered together to hear updates on existing projects and discuss new ideas during a two-day summer work session.

Agenda items for the June 29-30 session meetings included an update on council priorities set at their January winter work session, updates from the Economic Development Corporation, new Rail District concepts and the results of a performing arts study.

Another discussion topic was the results of community feedback from a June 20 Rail District open house and a potential EDC pilot program for the downtown area.

Grand Park

Members of Ideo, the global design firm hired in April to run the Grand Park project, gave a presentation during the second day of meetings on the progress they’ve made so far.

Most of the past month has been dedicated to research and interacting with the community, Project Lead Cory Seeger said. This included small-group meetings to understand the key behaviors and elements residents want from the space.

Ideo’s role so far has not been to deliver a concrete master plan but instead a list of guiding “evergreen” principles and a vision for the park, Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Coates said.

Council needs to officially adopt Ideo’s Grand Park vision before it can move onto the next step: assembling a team with a public space designer, environmental planner and civil engineer. Then the city can begin a multiyear process to create a specific plan and start constructing the park.

“This is, in my opinion, an opportunity that very few cities in the world have,” City Manager Wes Pierson said.

Discussions around Grand Park are expected to continue at future city meetings.

A performing arts complex

A potential project presented to council members was a two-phase performing arts complex instead of a standalone performing arts center.

If officials decide to go forward with the complex, the first phase would include three unique venues—a more than 2,000-seat traditional theater, a more than 650-seat community hall, and a smaller flexible hall with roughly 100-200 seats and outdoor space, according to a meeting presentation from ​​Keen Independent Research and Theatre Projects.

The second phase would be centered around a midsize community theater, according to the presentation.

Building the complex’s larger traditional theater could bring in the nationwide touring shows residents typically leave to see, Keen Independent’s Vice President Alex Keen said.

“There's a ton of people [in Frisco], and this is a really good demographic for Broadway,” Keen said.

Rail District recap

A Velocity Group presentation broke down the community feedback gathered at a June 20 meeting with various Rail District residents. The main point of discussions was to understand where the Rail District is going and what direction residents want to see it take, according to the presentation.

One idea presented to council members was adding an art walk as a way to draw people to the businesses in the area. There also are several ongoing projects taking place in the downtown area to promote walkability, some of which are expected to finish in 2024.

A presentation from the EDC also touched on the Rail District with President Jason Ford saying the corporation is considering an incentive program focused on growing the area further.

Stay tuned

Council members will meet in January to re-evaluate priorities, Council Member Bill Woodard said. Further discussions around the Rail District, the performing arts complex, Grand Park and more will continue until then.